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As with many County Durham towns and villages, expansion and development did not really happen  until the arrival of an efficient way of transporting the natural wealth of the region – coal and  other minerals. The Stockton and Darlington Railway Company built the first railway into Howden-  le-Wear in 1842. The branch from Bishop Auckland to Crook was opened for freight on 19th April  1842 then for passengers on 8th April 1843. The link finally closed on 5th July 1965 when Dr  Beeching wielded his axe. The whole area has since been reclaimed and landscaped by Durham  County Council – the deep cutting at Howden filled with waste from nearby colliery heaps. 
The railway station was called BEECHBURN for HOWDEN-le-WEAR’ The general region was Beechburn, and originally there were two railway stations, one at Howden  and the other at High Beechburn (Greenhead). The Beechburn Station closed soon after it was  opened and the name added to Howden-le-Wear – the larger of the two villages. This also  prevented any ambiguity with other ‘Howdens’ as on Tyneside or Humberside.